Alyssa Englert ’14, one of our Hartford Hawks women’s basketball players, made it all the way to the Final Four in Nashville. No, she wasn’t playing for UConn, Notre Dame, Stanford, or Maryland but, rather, she was honored for her good work as a volunteer in our community. During the nationally televised semifinal game on April 6, fans from Connecticut and across the nation who were packed into Bridgestone Arena gave Englert a thunderous ovation as she accepted her award on the same court where the national championship would be played two days later.
Englert is one of only five Division I women players named to this year’s Allstate Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Good Works Team. She made the cut because of her countless hours of community service on campus and throughout our community. She was key in planning and executing the 2012 Walk for Weaver fundraiser that raised more than $45,000 for her former Hawk teammate Amanda Weaver to help in Weaver’s battle with cancer. Englert also has volunteered with the Tabor House, a shelter for homeless men living with HIV/AIDS, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the YMCA, and participated in the Hartford Breast Cancer Walk. She also mentors a child at the University of Hartford Magnet Elementary School.
“The importance of giving back has always been with me,” says Englert, a physical therapy major. “As student-athletes, we sometimes forget how lucky we are to have a community that believes in and supports us. We get so caught up in wins and losses and school work that we forget to show our appreciation to those who are so dedicated to us. I've just tried my hardest to balance these three aspects of what I think being a great student-athlete is.”
Englert spent a busy four days at the Final Four, where she was also recognized at the WBCA Awards Show, attended an autograph signing at NCAA Tourney Town, participated in a community service event at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in partnership with the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, and helped present a $10,000 donation to the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center to help further the organization's mission.
She and her family received complimentary tickets to the National Championship Game, which featured UConn against Notre Dame.
"It's an amazing feeling to receive this national award,” says Englert. “Many other student-athletes were worthy of this so it makes me feel very blessed to have been chosen. It means so much to me to be able to represent the University of Hartford on such a big stage. Growing up watching March Madness, it was so thrilling to go there and be a part of it."